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3300 (!) for an Ireland trip ?

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1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

The newer courses are also some of the most expensive, and you have three of those on your list.  Private drivers are expensive, and you're staying in nice hotels.  You can plan these kinds of trips yourself, play some less-famous courses, stay in B&Bs, and drive yourself, and save a bit.  When you work through an agency, that agency has to make some money somewhere.

Yea, that sounds about right.  I'm thinking next time we do this I'd like to do Scotland or Ireland and stay in airbnb and such.  Thanks for input on the golf in the St Andrews area...we will check one of them out for sure.

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You can do it much cheaper, just takes work. Wife and I are going in September and with flights and hotels (used AirBnB for a few places) for both of us its under 2k.  

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OK....Truth....You can go to Ireland for a week and spend $1000 a head and play courses like the one down the street. Stay at Motel 6's.. And fly cheapass air..Like Thomas Cook that just went belly up...Right now course costs in $...Ballybunion 290, Old Head 390, Waterville 250, Tralee 275, Lahinch 275, Royal Portrush 290, Royal County Down 300.....If you go 3000 plus miles to play golf....Those are the places you want to go first few trips...Do you get in your car....drive 3 hours to play the local muni for $20....NYET...So why go to Ireland to play below average courses....No. You go to play the worlds great links courses....and they are not cheap. I set up trips...Not bunches of trips but a few every year. I have 4 guys going next August. Single rooms at nice places. Playing the standard rotation of great courses in SW Ireland. 6 nights, 6 rounds, bus, driver...NO Air. $5200 a head. Asking cost of a trip to far away special places is like asking...How much should my Driver cost. Some guys have drivers that were a $100 and play fine. Some spend over $500...Special Trip 101...If you have to be concerned re cost...Maybe don't go. Everybody has a story of some special nice course they played in far away places for cheap money....As with most everything in life...You get what you pay for....

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10 hours ago, Flog4 said:

OK....Truth....You can go to Ireland for a week and spend $1000 a head and play courses like the one down the street. Stay at Motel 6's.. And fly cheapass air..Like Thomas Cook that just went belly up...Right now course costs in $...Ballybunion 290, Old Head 390, Waterville 250, Tralee 275, Lahinch 275, Royal Portrush 290, Royal County Down 300.....If you go 3000 plus miles to play golf....Those are the places you want to go first few trips...Do you get in your car....drive 3 hours to play the local muni for $20....NYET...So why go to Ireland to play below average courses....No. You go to play the worlds great links courses....and they are not cheap. I set up trips...Not bunches of trips but a few every year. I have 4 guys going next August. Single rooms at nice places. Playing the standard rotation of great courses in SW Ireland. 6 nights, 6 rounds, bus, driver...NO Air. $5200 a head. Asking cost of a trip to far away special places is like asking...How much should my Driver cost. Some guys have drivers that were a $100 and play fine. Some spend over $500...Special Trip 101...If you have to be concerned re cost...Maybe don't go. Everybody has a story of some special nice course they played in far away places for cheap money....As with most everything in life...You get what you pay for....

I don't completely disagree, a number of those courses are absolutely outstanding, and well worth the price.  But there ARE outstanding links courses that aren't as expensive.  On my last trip I played at Carne and Enniscrone, with current greens fees of 110 and 125 euros (1 euro is $1.09 when I just checked), essentially half the price of the courses you list.  These courses provide an incredible experience, even more dramatic dunes than at the more famous courses further south.  And oddly enough, you might actually be around Irishmen on the golf course, not all tourists.  Someone who is budget-conscious can choose to double up in rooms, or stay in a less expensive hotel.  I like having my breakfast prepared for me, so I wouldn't choose AirBnB, but that's another option.  You CAN drive yourself, you don't NEED to have a driver, especially if you're staying in one place for a few days at a time. 

I wouldn't ever tell anyone that a top of the line Ireland trip is a poor choice, and I'd always recommend playing at least a few of the well-known greats.  But you can have an amazing experience at a lesser price with a compromise or two, and careful planning.

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Based on my brief poking around the interwebz, regarding this subject, $3300 for a week of golf at top end courses and lodging seems average.  If that includes flights, it's a really good deal.  This makes me wish I'd have been a little less committed to the corporation while they had me traveling all over the globe 😐.  That said, as much as I'd like to play Ireland courses, there are a few loops here in the good old USofA I will do beforehand... Robert Trent Jones Trail, Golf Hall of Fame to begin with but there are many others to choose from.

https://www.golftrips.com/golftrails/index.cfm

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Watching the latest "Tourist Sauce" season from the No Laying Up crew made me think of this thread. For all the hype Scotland gets as a golf destination the Irish golf looks positively breathtaking. I think they've been very fair in comparing the two. You can tell the difference in the weather though, the Scottish courses all looked burned out and the Irish ones are very green and lush. 

I highly recommend watching if anybody is planning on taking a trip. They talk about having a driver too and not only is the scenery beautiful to look at, but many of the roads are one-way, narrow or difficult to navigate. Having a driver means you don't have to worry about that, which seems appealing to me. Lots of great shots of the nightlife in the little towns they are visiting as well, and lots of Guinness. 

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I have done multiple trips to Ireland and Scotland.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.  

 

The courses in Ireland tend to be more dramatic--bigger dunes, more separation of holes, more elevation changes. But, the courses are pretty spread out.  You will spend a lot of time in a car in Ireland and frequently change hotels.  (Again, these are generalizations.)

 

The courses in Scotland tend to be flatter, but are no less of a test of golf.  But, the courses are grouped together, so much less travel is involved.  You can stay in the same hotel for days and only have short drives to multiple courses.   Troon, Prestwick and Turnberry in one hotel, the Old, New, Jubilee and Kingsbarn from one hotel.  North Berwick, Gullane and Muirfield.  

 

Both are great trips.  My favorite courses are about evenly split between the two, with the nod to Ireland, particularly Northern Ireland.  But if you want to relax more and travel less between rounds, then I would recommend going to Scotland first.    

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18 minutes ago, newballcoach said:

Watching the latest "Tourist Sauce" season from the No Laying Up crew made me think of this thread. For all the hype Scotland gets as a golf destination the Irish golf looks positively breathtaking. I think they've been very fair in comparing the two. You can tell the difference in the weather though, the Scottish courses all looked burned out and the Irish ones are very green and lush. 

I highly recommend watching if anybody is planning on taking a trip. They talk about having a driver too and not only is the scenery beautiful to look at, but many of the roads are one-way, narrow or difficult to navigate. Having a driver means you don't have to worry about that, which seems appealing to me. Lots of great shots of the nightlife in the little towns they are visiting as well, and lots of Guinness. 

I've been to both Scotland and Ireland a couple of times.  I've loved every minute, but there are some differences.  Ireland has courses with much more dramatic dunes, higher highs, steeper slopes than I've seen in Scotland. In Scotland, you can stay in one of 3 or 4 spots, and find a bunch of golf courses within an hours drive.  In Ireland, they're much more spread out, you'll end up with longer drives and more different hotels.  In both places I've been a primary driver for our group, and never had a problem doing it.  If you want to hit every good golf course, no matter where you go, you'll spend a lot more time in the vehicle than you will in the pubs, so a driver is a good idea  These are the kinds of trips that the tour companies want to market, big name courses, higher-end hotels, and a driver.  But if you choose a couple of hubs, with shorter drives to the courses, and maybe not quite so many big name courses, I don't think you really need the expense of a driver.  Everyplace I've stayed, I walked to pubs and restaurants, no real need to drive much in the evenings.  I prefer to stay in one place for a few nights, and not have to pack and unpack a bunch.  But there's brilliant golf to be had in both places.  

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Just now, alfriday101 said:

Looks like we were typing at the same time, Dave.  

We were, and apparently we agree on most of this stuff.  One more thing, and it follows on some of the factors we mentioned, for a first-timer, I'd recommend spending a week in St Andrews.  Lots of golf nearby, a lovely town with great restaurants and pubs, not far from either main airport.

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Agreed.  St. Andrews is a wonderful town.  Lots of golf in the town or nearby.  A great way to do a first trip.    

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41 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

We were, and apparently we agree on most of this stuff.  One more thing, and it follows on some of the factors we mentioned, for a first-timer, I'd recommend spending a week in St Andrews.  Lots of golf nearby, a lovely town with great restaurants and pubs, not far from either main airport.

I am looking to set up trip for 2021. Really like the idea of staying in St. Andrews and branch out. Got some ideas for itinerary?

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For @Rchang, first, if you think about booking it all yourself, or even if you don't, get Allan Ferguson's book here:

http://fergusongolf.com/pages/book.htm

I recommend you do the Advance Reservation Application.  You'll get your stuff ready next summer, and send the application in sometime in September, I think.  You can get an idea of the process by clicking Quick Reference Guide here https://www.standrews.com/Play/Courses/Old-Course/Booking-the-Old-Course

When you hear back about whether you've got a guaranteed time on the Old Course, you can plan the rest of your trip.  At St Andrews itself there are 3 championship courses, Old, New, Jubilee.  Castle is up on the hill, relatively new, I've read its pretty severe but lots of people enjoy it.  Kingsbarns is a short drive east, great golf course, pretty high price.  Beyond that there are two courses at Crail, then Elie, Lundin and Leven.  Going the other way you'll find three courses at Carnoustie, including the Championship, along with nearby Panmure and Monifieth.  There are two courses at the Fairmont Hotel justpast the Castle Course.  I think the longest drive to any of these is maybe 45 minutes from St Andrews.  I think you can find enough golf with that group to last you for a week or more.

I like staying in a guesthouse or B&B.  The prices are typically lower than a hotel, you get a fool cooked breakfast every day, the rooms are often fairly simple, but how much time do you want to spend in your hotel?  Many people like AirB&B or similar, and you can save money, but I like my breakfast.  You can rent a car and drive yourself, its simple really.  

Enough for a start?  If you want to pick a second base, its a short hop to either Ayr (Prestwick, Troon, Turnberry, Western Gailes, , Dundonald and others) or East Lothian (Muirfield, North Berwick, Dunbar, Gullane, etc).  My personal favorite is Royal Dornoch, but that's about 4 hours driving each way.  

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18 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

For @Rchang, first, if you think about booking it all yourself, or even if you don't, get Allan Ferguson's book here:

http://fergusongolf.com/pages/book.htm

I recommend you do the Advance Reservation Application.  You'll get your stuff ready next summer, and send the application in sometime in September, I think.  You can get an idea of the process by clicking Quick Reference Guide here https://www.standrews.com/Play/Courses/Old-Course/Booking-the-Old-Course

When you hear back about whether you've got a guaranteed time on the Old Course, you can plan the rest of your trip.  At St Andrews itself there are 3 championship courses, Old, New, Jubilee.  Castle is up on the hill, relatively new, I've read its pretty severe but lots of people enjoy it.  Kingsbarns is a short drive east, great golf course, pretty high price.  Beyond that there are two courses at Crail, then Elie, Lundin and Leven.  Going the other way you'll find three courses at Carnoustie, including the Championship, along with nearby Panmure and Monifieth.  There are two courses at the Fairmont Hotel justpast the Castle Course.  I think the longest drive to any of these is maybe 45 minutes from St Andrews.  I think you can find enough golf with that group to last you for a week or more.

I like staying in a guesthouse or B&B.  The prices are typically lower than a hotel, you get a fool cooked breakfast every day, the rooms are often fairly simple, but how much time do you want to spend in your hotel?  Many people like AirB&B or similar, and you can save money, but I like my breakfast.  You can rent a car and drive yourself, its simple really.  

Enough for a start?  If you want to pick a second base, its a short hop to either Ayr (Prestwick, Troon, Turnberry, Western Gailes, , Dundonald and others) or East Lothian (Muirfield, North Berwick, Dunbar, Gullane, etc).  My personal favorite is Royal Dornoch, but that's about 4 hours driving each way.  

That's great advice. Scotland also interests me, my wife's family is from Saltcoats, which is about a 40 minute drive north from Ayr, so that would be cool to visit at the same time. With Troon and Prestwick around there it would be worth the trip too.

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What I love about the discussions about going to the British Isles is it is always Scotland vs Ireland... I have made 2 trips to Wales. The nicest people you will ever meet. Yes nicer than the esteemed Irish. Some great golf too. Royal Porthcawl the best with Pennard , Royal St David, Aberdovey, Southerdown and a few others. The biggest loser in this discussion is England...Some of the best golf is there. And better weather.  And yet you will hardly ever hear anyone chat about going to golf there.  I've made two dozen trips to the Isle...Have hit the N/S/E/W of both Scotland and Ireland. St Andrews is the big draw. It is fabulous. I'm going back next year. Have apt down town and 10 teetimes. What happens with me is guys who have intimated they will go some day...When they finally agree...they want to go to the big name places...So I go back to previous haunts about every other trip.  And yes Fergusons book is the best reference for self help for newbies for Scotland. All good stuff. My best advise...Go while you still have game. Not later in life when you are teeing it up.... 

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13 minutes ago, Flog4 said:

What I love about the discussions about going to the British Isles is it is always Scotland vs Ireland... I have made 2 trips to Wales. The nicest people you will ever meet. Yes nicer than the esteemed Irish. Some great golf too. Royal Porthcawl the best with Pennard , Royal St David, Aberdovey, Southerdown and a few others. The biggest loser in this discussion is England...Some of the best golf is there. And better weather.  And yet you will hardly ever hear anyone chat about going to golf there.  I've made two dozen trips to the Isle...Have hit the N/S/E/W of both Scotland and Ireland. St Andrews is the big draw. It is fabulous. I'm going back next year. Have apt down town and 10 teetimes. What happens with me is guys who have intimated they will go some day...When they finally agree...they want to go to the big name places...So I go back to previous haunts about every other trip.  And yes Fergusons book is the best reference for self help for newbies for Scotland. All good stuff. My best advise...Go while you still have game. Not later in life when you are teeing it up.... 

this is really the best advice, go while you can still enjoy walking a round of golf.  And go again, and one more time.

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My buddy and I doing County Donegal in August. Played Lahinch on a non golf trip last summer with my wife and it was life changing.  I declared to her that I am going to British Isles every year for next 15 years or as long as I can walk 18/36 a day (I am 56 and walk 18 3-4 times a week). We have our entire trip for 2 of us for  7 days and 10-11 rounds of golf including airfare, self drive car, lodging, food (even $500 built in for SWAG) and it comes out to 3500.00 ea. (I actually paid an additional 1500.00 for business class). 

I am going to Bandon for 6 days in March and actually driving this year and its going to cost about 3000.00 all inclusive. Ironically, last year,  when we flew to Portland from San Diego then drove down it was almost 14 hours from door to door which is exactly same amount of time it took for us to get to Dublin in September. 

 

Its all expensive but I have seen too many people wait to go on the trip of a lifetime only to get sick or have significant other get sick and Jack ends up dying a dull boy never having gone anywhere.

 

If you can afford it, go. We have given our kids the tools they need to be successful (education) and have told them we are going to spend our money and they are all on board with the idea.

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Have been to Donegal...Good bang for buck up that way. Make sure you get to Narin Portnoo. It's fabulous.

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